Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

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Title: Starflight
Author: Melissa Landers
Format I Read: Physical ARC
Pages: 320
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date:  February 2, 2016
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world–and each other–the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

General Impression


Having read Melissa Landers before, I had irrationally high hopes for Starflight. The second I heard about it, it jumped to the top of my “must read ASAP or I’ll die” list. From the cover to the synopsis to Landers’ writing – I was salivating for this book. Luckily, the lovely Becky @ Stories and Sweeties traded me a copy (thanks, Becky)!

And guys… oh, boy. This book did not disappoint. It was a page turner, a captivator – it pulled me in hook, line, and sinker. The intriguing worldbuilding, the blood pumping adventure, the heart stopping action, the swoonworthy romance, the multi-dimensional characters, the complicated plot, the exquisite writing: everything about this book made it an immediate all-time favorite. Starflight is an absolute must-read.

Worldbuilding


From her Alienated series, I know just how fantastic Melissa Landers is with worldbuilding. She is absolutely amazing at subtle information dumping (which isn’t an easy feat). She somehow floods you with all the necessary info to build the world without you even realizing just how much you’re absorbing. Which is such a priceless talent – magnificent!

An even better testament: even in this complicated world, I never felt overwhelmed. From the Solar League to Spaulding Fuel, from the fringe world to the Obsidian Beaches, from the conviction tattoos to the medical technology – I never felt confused. So much was different about this world, but you don’t even notice. Landers built it so seamlessly. But I don’t want to spoil the world for you so I won’t say anything else. I want you to uncover each gem of the world Landers that created all on your own!

Characters


With the characters, Landers impressed me in two amazing ways, both of which made this book a home run.

First, there was an infinite amount of character development. And I’m a total sucker for character development. Doran and Solara were so dynamic – their evolution throughout the book, both in terms of their romance and in terms of their individual character, was astounding. I loved watching them let down their walls and really change for the better.

Second, there was an amazing cast of minor characters. Which I’m also a total sucker for. The crew on the Banshee were so real and unique, with layers upon layers of depth. Captain Rossi, Renny, Kane, and Cassia weren’t just wallpaper. They weren’t meaningless characters whose only purpose was to complement the MCs. They were their own entities, with their own quirks and backstories. And I loved Landers’ slow method of reveal with these backstories. It was fascinating puzzling together the pasts of all of these characters (including Solara’s past with her felony conviction).

Romance


The romance between Solara and Doran was exquisite. The development from fierce enemies to lovers was so deliciously natural. I never questioned it. It was gradual, rational, and truly heartwarming. And it was so much more than the typical hate-to-love relationship because it wasn’t just the relationship that changed. It was Solara and Doran that changed. And as they changed, so did their dynamic with each other. That made the progression that much more believable. Not to mention the fact that I swooned far too many times to count. From the tickling that Solara felt behind her belly button to the heart caving in that Doran felt, my own heart squeezed over and over again as I read this book.

Writing


Melissa Landers’ writing was absolutely spectacular. Immediately, I was completely sucked in. I honestly don’t know what to say. It was just total perfection.

Beyond the beauty of the writing, I loved that the third person included both Solara and Doran’s points of view. This really helped with the storytelling, character development, and romantic development!

Plot


It’s crazy how easy it was to get invested in the plot even though so much was going on. It may have seemed haphazard, but it really wasn’t. There was fleeing from pirates, fleeing from the Solar League, fleeing from the Daeva, and fleeing from just about anyone who wasn’t on the Banshee. So much was going on, but it never felt far-fetched, unbelievable, or poorly executed. It just added to the pressure of the book and helped develop the circumstances of the characters becoming a family. And that’s what I think the plot really circled around: the characters becoming a family. Everything else was just a means to that end. Which I actually really loved! It was fascinating to see the contrast between the crazy adventure and action (definitely thoroughly entertaining) and the meaningful and heartfelt character-driven developments.

Conclusion


This book was absolutely fantastic. Captivating, enchanting, lovely, amazing, awing – any other complimentary word you can think of, this book was it. Please hurry and go pre-order it right this second. It’s for your own good, trust me. Starflight is a must-read-or-else-you’ll-die book. It has already become one of my go-to recommendations of 2016. Melissa Landers did a spectacular job starting a new series and I cannot wait to read more of Solara and Doran’s story!

5 stars

With lots of bookish love,

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